“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Fugitives from Justice, by Randall D. Kittle


In a vision the Lord showed me a large prison whose outside fence was made of thick, black wrought iron. As the fences reached upward on each side, they also slowly curved in toward the center of the prison nearly closing in completely above and making this dark prison look somewhat like a giant birdcage. On every corner and on each side of the main gate were tall guard towers which again were made of black wrought iron. The guard towers had guard stations, spot lights, and mounted heavy machine guns, as if to say, “There will be no escaping from this prison!” The main gate had barricades completely blocking the drive up to it and heavy metal beams that securely locked it shut. Guards dressed in black shirts and pants, and wearing black caps could be seen guarding the front gates, the guard towers, and walking not only along the walkways atop of the fences, but among the prisoners.

Although it was daytime there was no sunlight nor shadow, for the skies were heavily overcast and it was drizzling, giving everything a rather gloomy disposition. The dirt prison yard had long ago turned into a field of mud, and the prison seemed to be overrun with prisoners. The inmates walked around aimlessly in their dirty, tattered prison suits. The prisoners appeared more alike than different, and the look upon their smudged faces was a strange combination of fear, depression, despair, and hopelessness. As I gazed over this sad scene of discouraged and defeated prisoners, I was suddenly able to read through the mist the writing above the main gate that told the name of this prison. There, written out of twisted wrought iron, was the name — SHAME.

With this I noticed a place that was bright and shining only a short distance from the prison. There on the other side of a deep ravine was a place as bright and glorious in appearance as Shame prison had been dark and depressing. In it I saw those dressed in radiant white who laughed and sung and seemed to be filled with great joy.

Hope For The Hopeless
No sooner had I wished that there was a way for those held in the prison of shame to come and join this joyous throng than I noticed an enclosed silver walkway that extended over the ravine connecting the prison of shame with this glorious place. As my eyes followed the walkway back to the prison, I discovered that where it connected to the prison fence there was a large, heavy metal door marking the entrance to the walkway. This door was a glistening gold color on the side facing the walkway, but inside of Shame prison the gold seemed tarnished, making it look like a big, brown door. From the bright and shining land across the ravine one bright beam of light shone across the ravine striking the door. This caused the door to be visible to every prisoner. But instead of coming nearer, they all took a step backward away from the door. The light made the engraving on the door visible, and written upon the door was the word “JUSTICE.” None of the prisoners seemed wanting and willing to even get near the door of Justice. They just glared at it from afar; as if there was something hidden and hideous about it.

Examining the door, I soon realized what was repulsing these prisoners. The door handle glowed like it was made out of molten metal, and as I looked at this fiery metal handle I could read the word “REPENTANCE” stamped into its glowing metal. How could they take hold of this handle without being severely injured? It seemed like little more than a false hope to these prisoners of shame who stood there staring at the door. As things stood still and silent, I heard in the gentle breeze that blew words of accusation and condemnation. The air seemed ripe with the tales of shame that had brought these prisoners to this place and kept them there.

Suddenly, one of the prisoners burst forth from the crowd and grabbed the door handle. The fire of the door handle seemed to jump off the handle and cover him completely. But instead of harming him as it burned, it seemed to change him for the better — getting rid of the smudge on his face and removing the tears and stains on his clothing until they began to shine like the sun. Then the door of Justice swung open and, though still a little unsure, the prisoner stepped through the door and into the walkway. As he walked across the walkway toward the glorious land, I could see that the tiles on the floor of the walkway spelled out the phrase “FORGIVING ATONEMENT.” Soon this one who had been locked away in the prison called shame came out of the other end of the walkway and joined those there in a joyous celebration.

Prison Of Shame
One of the enemy’s major schemes in our day is to keep believers locked up in a prison of shame. I have noticed that even those who have asked the Lord to forgive them of their sins still often seem to carry the shame of that sin with them. And that is exactly what the enemy wants — a whole company of believers held captive in a prison of shame. The heavy garments of condemnation the enemy has placed upon us cause our lives to be filled with depression and hopelessness. But the good news for every born-again believer is that your shame died on the Cross two thousand years ago. Hebrews 12:2 tells us of Jesus’ crucifixion that He “endured the cross, despising the shame.” The weight of all of our sin and shame was carried by Jesus upon the Cross. When Christ died on the Cross, He not only paid the price to forgive all of your sin, but also to remove all of your shame. That is why the Bible can tell us that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Because Jesus endured not just the guilt for your sin but the shame of your sin when He died on the Cross, shame and condemnation have no right to hold you captive!

The enemy of our souls wants us to be fugitives from God’s justice, hiding in shame, afraid that God will give us what we deserve. But the justice of God is exactly what we should desire. The only escape for our shame is God’s justice. And we open the door to it operating in our lives through repentance. Repentance is not something bad for us to fear. It is something immeasurably good. Repentance punishes sin, sets us free, and restores our relationship with God. No wonder the Bible tells us the result of repentance is “… that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Never forget the precious promise of 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we come to the Lord in true repentance, we know that He will be faithful to do as He has promised. And it is just for God to both forgive us our sins and remove all our shame (cleanse us from unrighteousness). It is just … because of the finished work of the Cross!

Jesus — Our Sacrifice & Scapegoat
Hebrews 2:17 tells us that Jesus came “that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.” As such, Jesus is the fulfilment of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. On this the most holy of Jewish holidays, God had commanded the sacrifice of two goats (see Leviticus 16). The first was slain as a blood sacrifice to cover the sins of the people. But there was also a second goat — the “scape goat.” The priest confessed the sins of the people upon it, and then it was taken outside the camp and let go in the wilderness taking the sins and shame of the people out of their midst. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of both of these sacrifices. Truly, He is the Lamb of God whose blood we trust in to cover our sins. But He is also the “Scape Goat of God” who carried the shame of the Cross outside the city to die in the wilderness, so He could be just in setting us free from shame and condemnation.

If we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior and confess our sins, they are removed from us and under the atonement. Because of the complete atoning work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, justice for the sins we have repented from no longer involves punishment and shame but forgiveness and renewed righteousness. If you’ve been struggling with shame, hoping somehow to be set free from the memory of old sins that keep haunting you, I have good news for you. The Bible promises you repeatedly
“that the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame” (Romans 9:33, Romans 10:11, 1 Peter 2:6). Meet the Lord afresh in prayer, thanking Him that He has taken your shame and nailed it to the Cross. Never again allow the enemy (or those he would try to use) to heap shame and condemnation upon you, for Jesus Christ has died to set you free! “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

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